Coaches need a powerful approach to coaching and one of the powerful approaches is solutions focused coaching. It helps coachees focus on solutions rather than problems.
As a coach, what is your mantra? Do you motivate your clients to find solutions rather than focus on problems? If yes, then solutions focused coaching is your approach and you are going on the right track.
If not, then you can learn more about the above approach and implement it in your coaching business.
What Is Solutions Focused Coaching?
Solutions focused coaching helps in identifying or designing the solutions. How? As a coach, discuss the issues with your clients and motivate them to find solutions. This can include creating new ideas or opportunities for clients. A coach guides coachees to work upon alternative solutions rather than analyzing the issue.
The idea of solutions focused coaching came from Milwaukeeʼs Brief Family Therapy Center. Today it is put into practice by coaches and psychotherapy.
The idea of this kind of coaching training is for building the strength of clients. The coaches do not examine the faults or loopholes of their clients. As a coach, you must use this approach for finding positive steps. It will make the client feel motivated and full of energy.
The best part about this approach is you can get solutions in a shorter span. This is because you are not spending much time scrutinizing the problem. This makes your coaching business stronger and more effective.
Solutions focused coaching is not going in the past. It deals with the future of clients. Hence, he or she feels optimistic about the whole coaching training and develops a positive mindset.
In this approach, coaches teach client techniques of reframing problems into solutions. Various coaching tools are used in this process which involves brainstorming and interviewing. The view and the behavior of clients need to be changed. It is possible after the coaches let the clients vent or talk about issues.
Solutions focused coaching is useful when clients find problems overwhelming. He or she is unable to separate the problems into different parts. Hence, the coach here asks the client what he or she desires. Also, what steps can work in their favor?
This approach is simple and flexible. This is because it can work wonders in a limited time. Also, it is useful for people using it as a self-coaching tool. For example, different coaches use it for getting ahead in life. Business coaches use it among teams. A product coach uses it during group coaching sessions. This is when new products emerge and demand increases.
Why Is Searching for Solutions More Important than Analysis of Problems?
It is said that one should focus on solutions rather than problems. If your client goes in the past it will have the wrong effect and can also result in conflicts and misunderstandings. Your client may resist going ahead. Hence, going into the root cause of a problem is a complete-time waste.
It is better if one finds the solutions. A coach must adopt solutions focused coaching in such circumstances. It lets the client prevent wandering towards negative. Thus, you can help them focus on finding alternatives. For example, a lot of companies use this approach when they face setbacks. When adversity strikes, they find solutions.
Hence, searching for solutions directs the energy of the client towards future growth. He or she can prepare a list of what is possible after the failure. The next step can be implementing the best option. This approach has worked for many and is a gamer changer.
If you keep on dwelling on problems, clients may feel depressed. This makes clients more stuck in life. It becomes an unresourceful stage. A lot of clients may share their problems with you and in some time it may become bigger. After some time, clients accept that having issues is a part of their life. They do not overcome it and accept it as fate.
Thus, when you are coaching a client, make them free from the past. Solutions focused coaching gives that opportunity. As a coach, you can motivate your clients to move into a meaningful thinking stage. This process helps clients find new choices in their lives. They believe in new avenues that were not possible otherwise. Your coaching products can also help them explore opportunities. They begin to own the problems and then move forward.
All this improves your client’s confidence in facing adverse situations.
Difference Between Solutions Focused and Problem Focused Coaching
Both the problem-focused and the solutions focused coaching work towards results.
But there is a difference in both these coaching types.
A coach with solutions focused coaching has better strategies for achieving the goals. Problem-focused coaching does not have that.
There is a high chance of reducing negative effects through problem-focused coaching. But it does not help in enhancing the positive changes whereas solutions focused coaching makes that possible. It lets the coach and the client understand the type of problem. It also helps in increasing self-efficacy. The client knows what can work well in difficult situations.
The solutions focused coaching process has effective questions. As a coach, you cannot find that through problem focused coaching.
When you find solutions you go in-depth for guiding your clients. They feel more sure about you. This may not happen in problem-focused coaching.
Hence, for fulfilling dreams or goals solutions focused coaching works better.
How Does Solutions Focused Coaching Work?
Solutions focused coaching works on the principle of reaching the solutions. The process involves identifying solutions and developing a path for it. A coach here uses the present tense for the solution. The things relating to the problem area are in the past tense. Coaches help clients in solving through building new steps.
Solutions focused coaching involves a range of possible solutions. These are made open to clients. Coaching training is given for taking action. This helps clients in reaching solutions.
Solutions focused coaching works through the below steps.
Guides clients in creating positive plans
In this coaching method, the coach asks the client what he or she should do. It is not about what the client should not do. How should the client view the future? A coach guides his clients in building a positive framework in the mind.
Motivates client choose specific steps
What steps should a client take for improving his or her situation? It is important for reaching the solution. This is because success comes when your actions are clear and take the right steps. As a coach, you can motivate clients for taking specific positive steps that can take them ahead and help them achieve their goals.
Help clients in identifying every change
Coaches make the client notice small changes taking place post their action. It indicates whether the client is on the right path or not. Identifying positive changes can further push the clients to be better.
Guide clients in defining the future picture
As a coach, guide your clients in defining the future picture with positive changes. The future which clients want to see can motivate them to work hard. This will help them focus and work for a future they are planning to achieve.
Solutions focused coaching can be path-breaking and help your clients achieve their goals.
What Are Typical Solutions Focused Coaching Sessions?
A lot of people believe they look at things with an open mind. But Herbert Simon’s research contradicts this. According to his research people think freely to a limited extent. There is resistance to accepting new ideas. This results in a negative view about life and the people around them. A lot of people also start moving into negative conversations.
Soon things become worse. People react negatively when someone gives ideas. As a coach, you may find that your clients blame the environment or other people in case of failure. In this situation, try using solutions focused coaching in your sessions.
This involves structuring dialogues based on a solution-focused mindset. It is a future-focused dialogue. The sessions are goal-directed and the major focus is on solutions.
A problem gives one a chance to look at things in different ways. This is the secret of your coaching business or sessions. As a coach, you find what is working well and whatnot. The things which work lead to solutions. It elevates the thought process of a group or individuals.
The sessions teach that clients should not care about problems anymore. You cannot find solutions if you keep thinking about issues.
Hence, during the coaching training, you help clients build a positive future. This lets the emergence of new possible solutions.
Also, here the conversation of coach and client is about what needs to be achieved. As a coach, you work with clients in creating a picture of an ideal future. In the session, you keep in mind that the past issues do not crop up.
The coach and client discuss the core topics. The session begins by introducing solution-focused coaching components. This involves retrospection and questioning. As a coach, you need to ask your clients about plans that can help them achieve their goals.
Clients are made aware of alternatives through coaching tools for a solutions focused approach. This is where coaches interact with clients through different coaching products. You can use blogs, newsletters, coaching podcasts, websites, and different strategies here.
The coach’s next step is defining the positive future for clients. As a coach, you work hand in hand with clients like a backbone. The session involves building a composite view of a positive future. There are different coaching exercises for motivating clients.
As a coach, discuss the actions that clients should take. This will help them reach the stage where the future is visible to them.
Tools and Techniques of Solutions Focused Coaching
Solutions focused coaching is a form of specialized conversation. The coaching tools help in developing the client’s vision of solutions. Below are a few techniques that you can use.
Take the help of past solutions
The client must have tried to solve problems in the past. As a coach, you can use past solutions for solving present-day issues. This technique helps in developing creative solutions. The client also feels confident that motivates him to focus on alternative solutions.
Check out positive alternatives
The coach guides the client to avoid focusing on problems. The coach trains his clients on identifying significant events that brought about positive change. They make clients understand what exceptions can work again.
Question about the present and future
As a coach, ask your clients about the current situations. Also, inquire about what your clients are planning for their future. There is less or no discussion about the past. Here are some of the systematic questions that you can ask as a coach.
What unique things clients can do to find solutions?
Which are the resources a client can use to get the solution?
How are clients able to identify the solution? How can they recognize it?
You must keep open-ended questions but avoid why. This is because it makes clients recall the past.
Acknowledging clients During the coaching sessions you need to confirm the client. Appreciate how they manage difficulties. The encouragement works in the client’s favor. You must help them in accepting change.
Push clients to do things that are working.
Nudge the clients for doing things that can give them results. It can boost up their confidence.
Ask questions which can work like a miracle.
Take help of scaling in questions
Scaling questions can be used in different ways. You can use it to make clients assess their issues. They can track the progress. There is also an evaluation done. Here the clients can rate themselves on a scale of 0 to 10. You can ask them the below questions.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where do the clients see themselves?
Where does the client want to be?
How can clients identify that they have reached their destination?
How can they see they are one step ahead?
In this scaling method, 10 is the ideal future picture. The client can mark himself or herself 10 if the future position is positive in all sense.
If they have not achieved the desired number, you can discuss it with the client. It is not about why they did not reach that number. But it is about what they are doing right that they got a particular number. As a coach, you can have an energizing conversation with the client. They can build a positive view of their future. They can start gaining confidence in their abilities.
Review breaks and adds the missing information
This is a useful tool. A small consultation break helps in analyzing what worked in the session. As a coach, you can ask clients about the things which you missed. Also, you can add some new points which they do not know or missed before. This helps in finding the right path.
The above tools and techniques can guide you as a coach for solutions focused coaching.
Benefits of Solutions Focused Coaching
First of all, as a coach, you must note what the coaching business is all about. It is about unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their performance. Solutions focused coaching helps the client find solutions. Here lie the benefits of solutions focused coaching.
This approach helps in seeking progress for clients. It proves beneficial in focusing on their goals where they want to reach. It also helps in understanding what skills they need to master to get there.
No excessive amount of time is spent on exploring the problems or issues. It further ensures the emotional well-being of a client. They begin to think optimistically and behave with confidence. The techniques let them equip themselves with new skills. It helps in engaging with their goals.
Here are the major benefits of solutions focused coaching in detail:
Brings in positive change
Solutions focused coaching works based on conviction. It says that a positive change can be brought by putting in efforts. This helps clients work and find outcomes.
Provides clear goals and helps gain self-confidence
Solutions focused approach ensures a good coaching conversation between a client and a coach. This sets a clear expectation for the client and helps them to be self-directed. They begin owning the responsibility to put in place actions for achieving the set goals. These techniques let them work independently and outside of the coaching conversations.
Always deal in the present and the future
The coaching approach helps develop solutions that focus on the future. Focus on solutions for a better future is the constant priority of this coaching. As a coach, you can listen to all issues or problems as that can help communicate empathy. It develops rapport and thus moving forward to the conversation is swift. All these aids to recollect past successes, skills, knowledge, and abilities. This helps in meeting future goals.
Uses the client’s own experience, expertise, and resources
The main role of solutions focused coaching approach is facilitating ideas. As a coach, reconfirm your clients the abilities that they already possess. This will help your clients recognize the abilities that would take them forward. This makes clients feel that they have found the solution.
Solutions focused coaching helps in removing all the barriers. It is a great tool for motivating clients in any phase of life.
Solutions focused coaching is playing an important role in every area. A lot of people in business, service industry, social work, education, and other areas need it. As a coach, you can help them out in different ways. Before going ahead you need to understand the need for solutions. As a coach, check out the steps of solution-focused coaching in detail.
The aim is to give practical and goal-oriented solutions. It must help in inspiring clients and lead to realistic dialogue between you and the client. In the solutions focused coaching approach, you must know what clients are looking for. A lot of times clients want a better life and most of the time clients try to achieve it on their own. But at a certain point, they may get stuck. This is because they can’t view things with the right angle. Through the solutions focused coaching, you can show them a new path for their destination.